Research Article| Volume 12, ISSUE 3, P263-273, 1998

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Acoustic analysis of induced vocal stressby means of cognitive workload tasks

  • Elvira Mendoza
    Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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  • Gloria Carballo
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Gloria Carballo at Departamento de Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento Psicológico, Facultad de Psicología. Universidad de Granada. 18071 Granada, Spain.
    Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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      The purpose of this study was to determine the acoustic effects on voice of three tasks of cognitive workload and their possible relationship to stress. Acoustic analysis was used to measure stress and workload in four experimental tasks and two experiments. In the first experiment, subjects performed cognitive workload tasks under a stressful condition, performing the tasks as rapidly as possible without errors and with the knowledge that any errors committed would reduce their grade in a course. The second condition was to perform the same tasks but without the condition of stress related to the final grade. Four testing conditions were included. One was a baseline measure in which subjects spelled the Spanish alphabet. The second was the reading of a tongue twister, the third was the reading of a tongue twister with delayed auditory feedback, and the fourth was spelling the Spanish alphabet in reverse order. In each condition the subjects prolonged the vowel /a/ for, approximately 5 sec. All subjects performed a test to determine their overall level of anxiety. The results suggest that in conditions of experimentally induced stress there is an increase in the fundamental frequency (F0) relative to baseline, an increase in jitter and shimmer, an increase in the high-frequency harmonic energy, and a decrease in spectral noise.

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